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Technology Outlook: Thomas Douglas

JMark Business Solutions Inc. President and CEO

Posted online

Thomas Douglas has worked at the information technology services company for more than 22 years. Previously, he completed enlistment to the U.S. Navy, where he earned a Navy Achievement Medal for his design of a financial reporting database.

2020 Projection: The technology industry will see more focus on the health and utilization of data in the workplace in order to make faster and better decisions.

SBJ: How would you describe the current economic landscape for technology in Springfield?
Douglas: Accelerating. Companies are adopting new technologies and work environments more than ever before. They’re getting comfortable with remote workers and facilitating working from mobile devices more and cloud services. Historically, we’ve been a bit behind in our region because of landline, bandwidth and cellular coverage, but that’s starting to catch up. And also, with the adoption of new technologies in general, we’ve kind of lagged a bit in the region. We’re having to compete on at least a national, if not international, basis. Because of that, it’s forcing our region to get more current on many of the latest technologies that have been used in the other regions for a longer time. So, the need for that relevancy on a large scale is causing that exploration.

SBJ: What are some technological trends on the horizon?
Douglas: Security is going to be big with all of the technological compromises. Organizations are making big investments into security more so now.

I think many organizations have realized that it isn’t just Target, Capital One and these big organizations, but it is also these small businesses, schools or municipalities that have gotten compromised. It’s caused organizations to pause and think they really do need a different approach on how to look at their technology. We’re going to see that start with a lot of user education. It will obviously work its way through a layered support of security to make sure an organization is protected.

SBJ: As technology continues to make some aspects of running a business easier, what aspects do you think it will make more challenging?
Douglas: I would go back to security and integration. Security is always a balance of convenience for the end user and the proper protection for the organization. Additionally, dispersant data leads to major problems for an organization, so creating an environment with a single source for truth, for data and a fully integrated approach to how you consume applications and evaluate your data is important. Today, we are creating more data annually than we used to produce in a decade. Because of that, I think we’re going to see that continue to be a major challenge in addition to the security all of that information. The business environment is forcing people to make decisions faster from their data, and when their data doesn’t easily tell the truth you see a lot of problems.

SBJ: How can businesses improve the way they gather and use data?
Douglas: What we see as some of the biggest challenges in terms of data management is having two or more different applications that don’t have the same information synchronized all the time, which creates problems and inconsistency. It is also important for sales and marketing data and getting to the truth of what it means to make good decisions in investments and branding (to) identify the right prospects for an organization. I think there is a lot of opportunity for improvement in our area and nationwide.

There’s a lot of marketing automation tools that can help organizations target customers that need or want to hear their message.

There is a big opportunity there for using data more effectively – additionally, when it comes to financial management and making good decisions from reports. A simple (profit and loss statement) is not sufficient any longer. One of the challenges organizations have is to know specifically where they’re making money, and sometimes more importantly where they’re not making money, and ultimately you’ve got to get to a point with your data that it tells you that truth without hours of analysis and interpretation.

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